The Webster Parish Police Jury is asking State Rep. Gene Reynolds and State Sen. Robert Adley to help them fight litter in the parish.
In the road committee meeting Tuesday, jurors discussed the continued problem of littering in the state’s rights of ways throughout the parish. They agreed to write a letter to the legislators asking them to request that the state “do something.”
“I don’t think they’re aware of what the state is doing to the parish,” said Juror Daniel Thomas, adding Reynolds and Adley are two of the best legislators they’ve had. “I would be very surprised if they understood the state will not help us pick up state rights of way – litter. I felt like the jury ought to send them a letter. I think if they really knew that we’re having to take parish money to pick up state rights of way, as nasty as they are getting, it’s filthy.”
He says it doesn’t seem to matter how many times it’s cleaned up, within two weeks the litter is as bad as before, if not worse.
“I would like…to send them a nice letter and inform them that no one will pick up the state right of way litter and it falls on the parish to pick it up,” he said.
Juror Steve Ramsey even suggested discussing the matter with Sheriff Gary Sexton to find out if it would be possible for him to get some money from the state for another “crew” to help combat the problem.
A crew is made up of parish prisoners that take care of various projects for different entities, such as the police jury, picking up litter along parish roads or mowing where necessary.
Police Jury President Jim Bonsall says jurors need to think hard about it, because it needs to be stopped.
Graydon Kitchens, retired judge, says the offense of littering carries a fine of up to $500. If someone caught littering is fined, they usually come in and pay the fine, he says.
“The fine is up to $500,” he said. “The judge can fine (a person) anything he wants up to $500. One problem about littering is you can write a ticket on littering, but if he comes in and pleads not guilty and it goes to trial, you don’t really have a witness to say he threw the stuff out. In some cases, you have a letter with a name and an address; that’s pretty good evidence. One of the problems they (the DA) face down there is the problem of proof.”
In fact, in his long career as an attorney and judge, Kitchens says he doesn’t ever remember seeing a littering trial.
The matter will be placed on the road committee agenda in May to follow up on a response to the letter.